Timothy Leavitt · Nov 8

Git for Shared Development Environments

If you're building solutions on IRIS and want to use Git, that's great! Just use VSCode with a local git repo and push your changes out to the server - it's that easy.

But what if:

  • You're collaborating with other developers on a shared, remote development environment and want to avoid concurrent editing of the same file
  • You're using editors based in the management portal for BPL, DTL, pivots, dashboards, etc. and want straightforward source control for your work
  • You're still using Studio for some things and/or occasionally jump back there from VSCode - or, your team has not yet fully embraced VSCode, and some team members still want to use Studio
  • You're working on a bunch of separate projects at the same time in the same namespace - say, several packages defined using the InterSystems Package Manager - and want to just work with all of them from one isfs editing view (rather than a bunch of distinct projects) with changes tracked in the proper git repo automatically

Then it wasn't so easy... until late last month, when we released Git for Shared Development Environments (Open Exchange / GitHub). You can get this extension using the InterSystems package manager:

zpm "install git-source-control"

Prior to this, the options for source control with Git were an old mostly-Windows-only, local development environment-only Git extension and a more recent Open Exchange project based on it but streamlining use a bit. There's also Port, which just deals with files and is version control system-agnostic.

What does git-source-control have that these packages don't?

  • Simple menu-based integration with git that works on any operating system
  • A git user interface to cover an expanding set of common git activities, without having to SSH over to the remote environment.
  • Concurrency control for multiple users working in the same environment at the same time. Once you make changes to a class/routine/etc., it's yours until you discard or commit your changes. (We do have ways around this when needed, though!)
  • Package manager-awareness: just zpm "load -dev /path/to/package" and, if /path/to/package/.git exists, changes to resources in your package will automatically be reflected in the right place on the server filesystem. The UI works with this too, based on the class/etc. from which it is launched.

All of this works from VSCode:


And Studio:


To give you control over and visual insight into your git repository:


We hope this enables your successful development of IRIS-based solutions, and welcome your feedback!

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Great job @Timothy Leavitt and team!! This been a significant need for some time in order to support organizations that work in a shared-dev model, as well as those looking to connect the source controlled SMP pages to Git.  I look forward to seeing how this enables out community to make more thorough use of source control!  

Thanks @Ben Spead! And just to be clear, this isn't just for those working in shared, remote development environments - I anticipate this simplifying a lot of my work on Open Exchange projects even with local instances and VSCode.

Thanks @Timothy Leavitt for that detail.  In what way will these hooks be superior to the existing client-side VSCode hooks for Git?  I am interested in understanding the additional benefit for local instance work

@Timothy Leavitt - I may be able to answer my own question here ... are the additional benefits the visual branch UI that is build into the IDE and the package manager awareness?

There's great IDE integration for VSCode for local git repos; really it's the package manager awareness that's key.

Use case: I find a bug in one of my project's dependencies Assuming it's been loaded from my local filesystem rather than by zpm install, I can just fix it directly via an isfs editing mode and it'll be reflected on the filesystem.

Makes sense - thank you for describing the use-case

Hi Tim, this is great, we spoke about this a while back and so glad you managed to get this out !!.  I've downloaded/installed it and will be using it for a project pretty soon.

Thanks again !

@Steve Pisani glad to hear you'll be using it - your feedback (via GitHub issue, email, Teams, or carrier pigeon) is certainly welcome!

I know it took a long time to get this out, but better late than never! Shout out to @Sarmishta Velury and Adewale Adewuyi (who I can't tag) for helping to make it happen. :)